“Funeral home turned into a bar”
Voted "one of the best bars in Kansas" by Esquire Magazine.
It’s not every day that you can walk into a bar that used to be a funeral parlor. But that’s exactly what Fat Matt’s Vortex is. The onetime dead-person destination is now owned by the cheerful and personable Joanie Bocelewatz, pagan witch and second-degree (that’s one notch away from top tier, or high) priestess. Originally called Irene’s, Fat Matt’s got a name change in 2007, but witchy quirks still decorate the place. Witches on broomsticks fly across the walls above the wooden bar, and the place is decked out in New Orleanian green, purple and gold. The drink specials are supercheap, the jukebox is up-to-date, and there are plenty of current and old-school video games to be played. Just don’t look in the basement, where the old crematorium remains.
We stopped early on a Friday night on our way West through Kansas City. The locals and the bartender (who co-owns the place along with his mom Joanie) were super friendly and regaled us with tales of the bar's history, including a few ghost stories. The drinks were inexpensive and good, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, and everyone was welcoming. I can definitely see myself as a regular if I lived in the area, and will make it a point to stop by if I ever find myself in Kansas City again!
I'm not sure what I expected, but somehow, this place wasn't it. In a good way! We stopped in late one night as we were passing through, and everyone was super welcoming and friendly, staff and guests alike. It's in a residential neighborhood, so at first we thought we were lost and about to give up. But once we saw it, we stayed for a couple of signature drinks (a little too sweet for me). I absolutely loved the kitsch of this place. Not only that, they gave us a tour of the basement and a history lesson.
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Fat Matt's Vortex
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